Incident prompts protest at University of Oklahoma
A journalism professor at the University of Oklahoma is under fire after comparing the phrase “OK, boomer” to the n-word while teaching a course on ethics in journalism.
As reported by OU Daily, Professor Peter Gade, in response to a student comment that “journalists have to keep up with the younger generations,” said “Calling someone a boomer is like calling someone a n—–.”
The Daily reported that the use of the racial slur prompted students to walk out of class, many of whom were shocked to hear the professor use it. Some students told the dean of the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication that they would no longer attend the class as long as Gade, who is white, was the professor.
From the Daily’s report:
Molly Kruse, The Daily’s assistant culture editor, told Gade during the class that was not a word he should use, and he attempted to defend it and then changed the subject.
Some students left the classroom immediately afterward, and others left once class ended and Gade kept talking over the scheduled time for the class. Students present at that time said he told the class he was sorry if he offended anyone.
Ed Kelley, dean of Gaylord College, said the first thing they wanted to do in Gaylord was meet with students, so he, associate dean David Craig and assistant dean Yvette Walker met with five students from the class afterward.
“I’m not sure that (type of language) does (have a place in the classroom),” Kelley said. “Perhaps it did once upon a time. Perhaps he was using it as an educational tool. We have no record at all of Dr. Gade, a distinguished professor who’s been on the faculty here for more than 20 years, of him ever using this term, much less any kind of other racially inflamed language.
The university’s interim president released a statement calling the comments “fundamentally offensive” and that the “use of the most offensive word, by a person in a position of authority, hurt and minimized those in the classroom and beyond.”
Gade apologized in an email to his students for his choice of vocabulary. He has taught at the university since 1998, and is the OU Gaylord College director of graduate studies.
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